Reaching epidemic levels
Identity theft is reaching ‘epidemic levels’ as identities are stolen at a rate of almost 500 a day, according to a fraud prevention watchdog.
A record 89,000 identity fraud cases were recorded in the first six months of the year by Cifas, a leading fraud prevention service.
The figures show a five per cent rise from last year and represent over half of all fraud recorded by Cifas a not-for-profit fraud data sharing organisation. 83 per cent of identity frauds were perpetrated online.
Simon Dukes, Chief Executive at Cifas said: “We have seen identity fraud attempts increase year on year, now reaching epidemic levels, with identities being stolen at a rate of almost 500 a day.
“These frauds are taking place almost exclusively online. The vast amounts of personal data that is available either online or through data breaches is only making it easier for the fraudster.
The latest figures also show there has been a sharp rise in identity fraudsters applying for loans, online retail, telecoms and insurance products. There has been a 61 per cent increase in identify fraud for telecoms products, a 54 per cent increase in loan fraud and a whopping 10,250 per cent rise in insurance identity fraud with cases up from 20 in 2016 to 2,070 this year.
While the number of identity fraud attempts against bank accounts and plastic cards has fallen these still account for more than half of all identity fraud cases.
Detective Superintendent Glenn Maleary Head of the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate, said: “Identify fraud continues to be a significant issue in law enforcement and the new figures which Cifas has released today come as no surprise.
“The more our lives move online the easier it becomes for fraudsters to steal our identity. It has become normal for people to publish personal details about themselves on social media and on other online platforms which makes it easier than ever for a fraudster to steal someone’s identity.
“The figures show that both businesses and consumers are targeted and it is therefore important that people commit to protecting themselves in all aspects of their lives. Be careful who you give your information to, always consider whether it is necessary to part with those details.”
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